Thank you so much Merit! Here is the meta tag.
Re-thinking College

Re-thinking College

Re-thinking College

Re-thinking college is something all of us with college-aged kids should be doing! With sky-rocketing debt associated with a degree and a mushy job market, the exponentially rising costs of college, it might not be the best way to launch our young adults. But, where does that leave us? As I’ve said before, we are in the 4th Industrial Revolution, and with any revolution, there are high costs and great opportunities if you know where to look. This article will explore ways to hack college and look at viable options to do alongside or instead of college!

What are the Colleges Teaching?

I was talking to a relative this weekend. Both of his kids went to the top-rated public business school in America. They both said they learned little past what they taught in high school, now believe that socialism is better than capitalism, and have embraced a pro-choice stance. For the time and money involved, their conservative, Christian, pro-life parents are disappointed with the values, education, and return on their college investment.

The College Experience

From where I sit, I believe that the college “experience” – both educational and social- is mostly a thing of the past. Colleges and Universities are merely bastions of social reform, and the “Academy” is no longer interested in education, which includes skill-building, synergy, stewarding Christian Culture, and the Great Conversation. College might still be necessary for specific careers or fields, but it’s no longer mandatory for vocational success or a rite of passage required for upward mobility.  For many of us, college still seems like a reasonable goal. As homeschoolers, college acceptance validates the time and effort we’ve invested in our kids. As our kids launch, it’s a logical “next step” and an excellent, negotiable middle ground between childhood and adulthood.

Is the ROI of College worth it?

This experience leads us to some hard questioning if we are committed to launching our kids well. Is the traditional “4-year” college route, with debt, a smart way to go? As parents, how do we proceed in:

  • guiding and directing our young adults in a way that will position them well
  • launch them with  as little debt as possible
  • give them ever increasing responsibility and autonomy
  • utilize their talents

I believe that going through college – if your student needs that documentation for entering into a Big 10 Company, graduate school, etc., should be done as efficiently as possible. In other words, get college credits quickly and as inexpensively as you know how to do it. Work towards a degree program with clarity and focus. (For a fascinating look at most colleges’ pre-pandemic state of messy affairs, check out the book College Unbound).

College GEN ED’s 

For kids who are still preparing to graduate from a college or university, I would get General Education courses out of the way before hitting the college trail- either through Dual Enrollment or CLEP, or a combination of both.

30 Credits would be equivalent to 1 yr of College and remember that most college courses count for 3 credits:

6 Credits of English

  • Composition I*
  • Composition II/*

3-6 Credits of Math

  • College Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Accounting I or II

3- 9 Credits of Science

  • Environmental Science
  • Biology *
  • Chemistry*

3-6 Credits of Social Sciences

  • Psychology *
  • Sociology
  • Government*
  • Econ*
  • History

3-6 Credits of “Diversity” 

  • Religion
  • World Religion**

At True North Homeschool Academy, we are so committed to helping families re-think college that we offer many test prep courses. We also have a new Dual Enrollment program. Combining DE with CLEPs can save your student even more time and money- getting them on the road to independence sooner.

CLEP for College Credit

Not sure if the college or university of your choice (or should I say, within your financial reach) takes CLEPs? Some schools have it posted on their website. If you talk to admissions, but you can’t find it in print anywhere, it’s not binding, so check the website and catalog or ask the Admissions Counselor to write it on school letterhead, with a signature. Furthermore, you can always earn an Associate’s Degree from one of the “Big Three”- Thomas Edison, Excelsior, or Charter Oaks and transfer your Associate’s Degree from one of these accredited colleges. Because it’s an Accredited Degree, your credits and classes will transfer, and you can jump into upperclassman status, finish faster and not spend quite as much money.

The Importance of Learning Entrepreneurship

II encourage every young person I know to learn how to navigate the online world with at least some understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Developing an online business is even better, offering an online educational program, better still. Alternative Ed is booming and will continue to do so. Online education was a $1 billion business in 2010, was expected to be a 2.1 billion dollar business in 2020 (pre-pandemic estimates), and is now projected to be a $357-$435B business by 2023-2025. Learning to sell online can position any young person well, and you certainly don’t need a degree to learn online sales and marketing.

For those still eager to attend college, I would suggest creating an ANI or other Compare/Contrast chart to evaluate your ROI for the projected schools, degrees, and job prospects. If students have been working and saving for college but aren’t’ getting scholarship dollars that will allow them to graduate without extreme debt, other types of investments might be more prudent in both the short and long term.

What is the Return on Investment for College?

College ROI should be evaluated from both a monetary, lifestyle, and values point of view. Sending kids to college who aren’t clear about what they’ll be studying, or their vocational plans ultimately lead to more debt as they change majors or leave school. Further, with no clear job prospects or way to pay back the debt. The majority of college graduates (those who do graduate, and the 50% or so who don’t), leave college with an average of $37,000 in debt. They often graduate in six years instead of four.

Strategize Higher Education Investment

Once you’ve determined if higher education is worth the investment, determine a strategy. There are some exciting scholarship opportunities available. Scholarships like the Military (leadership and vocational training, along with a regular paycheck), Critical Languages, or Community Services Scholarships. Sports and NCAA opportunities provide excellent opportunities but often take years of lead-up time, parental time and money, and political astuteness. Particularly as we now navigate transgender athletes.

Develop You Students Stand Out Factor

Being intentional about helping your kids develop their sense of “otherliness” in unique and stand-out ways

It’s a whole new world to navigate for young adults, and it’s worth spending time thinking through alternatives to a traditional college experience. Like True North’s Orienteering course, a Vocational Exploration course can save thousands of dollars literally and get kids started on a vocational path while still in High School. Practical courses that will prepare our students for the Future of Work, including the increasing “Gig” Economy, are also prudent.

Career Exploration can save you TIME and MONEY

Not sure where to start? The Orienteering Course will help students explore their strengths and skillsets, look at various educational and vocational options and develop a plan. Courses that teach marketable, real-world skills, many of which we offer at True North Homeschool Academy, like:

These courses give students real-world, marketable skills. It’s not too early to begin researching college costs, talking with your students about the lifestyle they hope to live, and strategizing the best ways to make that happen.

Typical Course of Study

Don’t overlook the importance of a solid Jr and Sr High school Academic Program, complete with rubrics, gamification (courses will use it more widely over time), and grading. Your young adults will live and work in a world where being able to think and adapt quickly and collaboratively. A solid academic program lays an excellent foundation for that time of critical thinking. Not sure where to start in developing a program? Our Academic Advising programs are designed to work with and for your family.

Lastly, for students bent on a particular job that might entail college, check out our Young Professionals Series for practical, hands-on advice and actionable steps to develop your student’s professionalism while still in high school.

Take a listen to our ReThinking College podcast!

Our Academic Advising program, designed to help you create an actionable plan, will save you time, money, and frustration now and as you launch your young adult! SPED Advising is also available! 

A Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College

A Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College

A Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College

Looking Back: a Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College, while it’s still fresh in my memory! I still remember that day in the fall of my junior year when I realized that college was actually approaching, and I had to make my own decision about a major step in my life. I felt unable to choose from all the options; being the introvert that I am I planned to be cautious by choosing a small Bible college close to home. It had nothing unique to what I was interested in, didn’t offer my chosen major, and was really just a cop-out because I wanted to attend college. However, my entire perspective on what college could be for me was changed when I attended a college fair and found out about Patrick Henry College.

Getting into a college like PHC

PHC is small (less than 300 students), classical, and (in my opinion) one of the few Christian colleges in the United States that still follows true Biblical doctrine. After finding my dream school back in 2016, the next step was the application process. I submitted the required materials and then spent two and a half hours on the phone with my admissions counselor discussing my spiritual life, high school classes, community involvement, life goals, and biggest failures. Next, my counselor committed to push for my acceptance. The day I was accepted is one of my favorites even now.

What do classical colleges look for?

When I visited the school, I learned from current students and my admissions counselor that PHC was looking for a specific type of person—not necessarily the person with the best SAT score or the longest list of AP classes. This was what I heard when I visited Grove City College in Pennsylvania as well. Private classical liberal arts schools often prioritize phone interviews over submitted work.

Patrick Henry was interested in the fact that I worked at Chick-fil-A, taught a kindergarten class at my church, and had a passion for classical education. They appreciated that I played the violin and participated in a couple mock trials. I realized that the team at PHC focused on the character of the students they accepted more than the standardized test scores they received. This became a new draw for me to attend the school because I knew that they valued full people, not just numbers.

Did my education equip me for life at PHC?

As a second-semester college freshman, I can’t say that I always fully appreciated my classical homeschooling journey back in high school. The hours I spent wrestling with Latin homework, digesting classic literature, and discussing philosophy were taken for granted when they passed by, but they are definitely paying off now. Instead of drowning in my first semester of college Latin, I was able to enjoy it most days.

Attending a classical academy one day each week equipped me to be comfortable with participating in class discussions at PHC. Reading many of the Great Books back in high school gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding in my second read here at PHC. My freshman year has still been the hardest venture I’ve ever attempted, but I can’t imagine going into it without the high school experience I had.

If I could send one message to high schoolers and their parents at this point, I think it’d be the cliché saying repeated to students all the time: fight the good fight. What you are doing now may seem mundane and insignificant. It may feel like you’re peddling only to come around a bend to more of the same.

However, one day you’ll sit down to reflect and realize that in those seasons of hustling to and from activities and squeezing schoolwork in between it all you were doing good, true, and beautiful work to further your earthly walk and, more importantly, to further the kingdom.hustling to and from activities and squeezing schoolwork in between it all you were doing good, true, and beautiful work to further your earthly walk and, more importantly, to further the kingdom.

Author bio:

Olivia, or Livvy, Dennison is an 18-year-old freshman at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. A native of Mt. Hope, WV, she plans to major in History with a minor in Classics. When not working on school, Livvy loves reading, playing basketball, and living life with her two younger brothers and her dog, Amos. Livvy was always homeschooled by her mom and, for her last two years of high school, attended Appalachian Classical Academy, a Christian homeschool tutoring program that meets one day each week.

Are you wondering what life after homeschool may look like for your child? Check out this former homeschool student's experience with a classical college. #homeschool #lifeafterhomeschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #classicallearning

SAT and ACT Prep for Homeschool Students

SAT and ACT Prep for Homeschool Students

(The following is a guest post from Erika Oppenheimer, an SAT and ACT test prep coach in New York City and the author of Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test.)

The SAT and ACT preparation process is challenging, regardless of a student’s life or educational background. An independent education provides students with an incredible opportunity to learn in a way that fits into their lives and learning styles. Homeschooled students may have some advantages in the SAT and ACT prep process over their traditionally educated peers. For example, homeschooled students may have more experience directing long-term projects and self-motivating.

However, there may be some aspects of the SAT and ACT that homeschooled students initially experience as greater challenges than their peers who have spent more time in school settings. By paying attention to their individual strengths and limitations going into the prep process, students can achieve optimal results on their college admissions test.

Here are a few aspects of the SAT and ACT prep process that are important for all test takers, but which may be especially important to highlight for students who have been homeschooled in the years leading up to the SAT and ACT.

Building Endurance

The SAT and ACT are administered over 3-4 hours, depending on whether students take the Essay Test, which many colleges require of applicants. The longest section on the SAT lasts 65 minutes; the longest section on the ACT lasts one hour. If your independent program includes frequent opportunities for the student to stand up, stretch, or dialogue (generally good practices for learning and wellbeing), then you may want to begin incorporating longer periods in which students must work independently and without a break. Building endurance for the test can happen both through taking SAT and ACT practice tests and through completing other coursework. Either way, it is important for students to be able to direct their attention for long periods of time in order to perform well throughout the SAT and ACT.

  • Test Prep Action Step: Work independently and without interruption for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break to stretch or move around. Build up to one hour of focused productivity.

Working around Other People

Students without special testing accommodations will take the SAT or ACT at a local test center, surrounded by other test takers. If your homeschool program consists mostly of the student working alone in a room (supervised or unsupervised) or in small groups, then the student may want to gain experience focusing in less isolated or familiar settings. The public library is a great place to take SAT and ACT practice tests. The library is mostly quiet, but still has more activity than an empty room.

    • Test Prep Action Step: Move your SAT/ACT practice test—or your homeschool or homework session—to a local library or other public space.

Do you worry that your homeschool student will be unprepared for all those important steps to make it into college?  High school can be a stressful time for a homeschool mom, but we are here to help.  Check out these ACT and SAT tips for homeschooler, and make sure you are on the right path today! #homeschool #testing #testprep #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Managing Time

The SAT and ACT are, of course, timed tests. The element of time shouldn’t be thought of as an obstacle to top performance, but rather an aspect of this particular “game.” The challenge of the game is answering as many questions correctly as one can within the time limits.

There are three elements of this challenge: first, a willingness to adapt one’s approach to tasks such as reading passages so that time isn’t wasted rereading portions of the passage or reading for details that won’t later be covered in the test questions; second, developing a strong understanding of the concepts being tested; third, discovering an overall pacing strategy that balances the quality of a student’s answers (his or her accuracy) with the quantity of questions answered—disproportionately favoring one over the other will have a negative impact on a student’s scores.

    • Test Prep Action Step: Rather than simply taking practice test after practice test, do an initial review of the concepts tested on the SAT or ACT and the format of the test for which you are preparing. After this review, apply your knowledge within the test through taking practice tests. See where you get stuck, and review those concepts in greater depth. At first, you may not finish a given section, but as you build comfort with unfamiliar topics and the test format, you’ll naturally begin to work more quickly. Within the Reading section of either test and the ACT’s Science section, which depend less on preexisting knowledge, you may not need to do an initial review, but you can spend time considering what approach to reading the passage will enable you to work most efficiently. You may also do timed drills, in which you break the section into smaller parts to get a better sense of your pacing and experiment with different approaches.

(Does your student need practice testing?  Check out the Performance Series Tests from True North Homeschool Academy.)

Managing Nerves

Given that the tests are an important part of the college and scholarship application processes, they often bring up nerves for students. This stress is compounded for students who will take the test in unfamiliar settings. By exploring and adopting habits that help manage stress and nerves, students will be better able to apply what they know in the test room.

  • Test Prep Action Step: Try taking a few full, conscious breaths breathing in for four counts, holding for two counts, and exhaling for four counts. Do you feel any different after than you felt before? A conscious breath is a habit that can be easily incorporated into test taking. Take a conscious breath in between test sections and halfway through each section or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by a test question.

If you feel overwhelmed within the test prep process, consider partnering with a tutor or coach (like me) who is an expert in navigating the test prep process. There’s a lot of information out there about the SAT and ACT, and the person with whom you work will help you determine the strategies that will work best for you. You may also use my book, Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test, as a more complete resource for learning how to effectively navigate every step of the SAT and ACT process.

Erika Oppenheimer

Erika Oppenheimer is an SAT and ACT test prep coach in New York City and the author of Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test. In addition to teaching test content, she helps students manage the stress of the test prep process. Coaching sessions may take place in Manhattan or over Skype.

Learn more about Erika’s coaching programs at

Receive a free chapter of Acing It! and her One Month SAT & ACT Prep Plans when you sign up for her email updates here.

CLEP 101 (College Level Exam Program) for Homeschoolers

CLEP 101 (College Level Exam Program) for Homeschoolers

At True North Homeschool Academy, we are all about launching our kid successfully as young adults.  Ideally, we like this launch to be with little to no debt, and in a way that equips them to succeed vocationally, as well as in life. One of the ways we are doing this is by providing CLEP prep classes.

What is CLEP?

CLEP is College level Exam Program. There are over 33 exams available that are accepted by 2900 colleges and universities in the following areas:

  • Literature & Composition
  • World Languages
  • History & Social Science
  • Science & Mathematics

By taking a CLEP test, you can save “Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars.” CLEP exams have been in existence for over 50 years and had over 1800 test centers. This program allows students to demonstrate mastery in college-level material and earn college credit through testing. There is no minimum age at which your kids can start taking CLEP exams and your test scores will “bank” for up to ten years!

Not every college accepts every CLEP exam, and if you know where your high school student plans to attend college, you can check with their admissions counselor or website. If it’s not stated on the website, and you are assured by someone on staff or faculty that the CLEP exam will be accepted for credit, get that in writing. In my state, the state college system will take up to 10 CLEP exams toward a degree, but it varies by major and school.

If you are interested in taking some CLEPs as upper-level high school courses, I would suggest starting with some basic general education requirements: College Algebra, English Comp I and II, Environmental or Natural Science, Psychology or World Religions or Government. Taking just 5 Clep exams totals 15 College Credits (and can go on a High School Transcript for one credit as well and can be counted for a higher weight, which affects the G.P.A.) which is an entire semester’s worth of college. Considering that even inexpensive school cost around $20,000 a year, half of that is significant savings!

If you are looking to earn you Associates degree or even entire undergraduate degree through Clepping, Dual Enrollment, and other less conventional methods, be sure to check out the “Big Three”; Thomas Edison State College, Excelsior State College, and Charter Oak State College.  All of these consider life experiences, extensive CLEP exams, and dual enrollment creidts towards an Associate of Arts or a Bachelor’s Degree.

We have a friend who got their entire undergraduate degree in two years through Clepping and then went on to Medical School.  Of course, he had terrific MCAT scores and references along with his degree, but it is doable to take an unconventionally earned Bachelor’s degree and go on to a competitive graduate program.

True North Homeschools Academy is committed to utilizing the freedom and unique opportunities we have as homeschoolers to bring classes to you that prepare your students to take CLEP exam.

This fall, for instance, we have an amazing group of young adults (10th-12th graders) meeting weekly for 90 minutes to study Psychology. This class has been challenging and thought-provoking, required a boatload of homework, reading, studying and learning vocabulary, provided great discussions and some good laughs and readied participants to take the CLEP exam at the end of the semester.

This class is offered for one semester (just like a college class would be) and uses Zoom and Moodle (also, like many college classes) and counts for 1 High School Credit.  If the CLEP exam is taken and passed 3 College Credits under the General Education requirement of Social Science will be earned. Not only are our students receiving college credit for pennies on the dollar but they are avoiding the social indoctrination that is so prevalent on College campuses, especially in the area of Social Sciences.

Why pay for these classes when our kids can study and take a CLEP test on their own?

For the simple reason, that upper-level classes are challenging, and difficult things are often more exciting and enjoyable when done with others (Ecc 4:9), the teacher brings their experience and expertise to bear,  and the kids have incentive to keep going even when the going gets tough!

If CLEP tests are not something you’ve considered before, I hope you take a look at them. We’d love to partner with you to guide your student through some fun and challenging High School classes that also prepare your students well for CLEP exams!

(This spring we will be offering Civics as well as Environmental Science– both count towards one credit of High School and are also CLEP prep classes.  Check those out today!)

Would you like your high school student to get a jumpstart on college credits?  Then you need CLEP classes!  Check out this post to find out the whys and hows of CLEP Exams for homeschool students! #homeschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #CLEP

How to Prepare Your Kids for Life After Graduation

How to Prepare Your Kids for Life After Graduation

How to Prepare Your Kids for Life After Graduation

Choosing how to prepare for adulthood and High school is no joke. Everyone believes they have the perfect plan for your life. They all have suggestions of which college you should attend, for how long, and what you should do after you finish. 

By the time many kids finish high school, the pressure is so strong that they feel they have no chance but to pick SOMETHING.

Too many end up with a career they hate and debt on their shoulders.

When you think about it, it’s strange to expect that a 16-18 year old should have a future perfectly mapped out. And especially when the stakes are high, it’s unfair to expect them to commit their lives to a specific career when they don’t know if they’re going to like it or not.

So if your teens don’t know exactly what they want to do yet, don’t panic.

There are many options outside college for your teen to pursue. In fact, college is the option with the least return on investment! Think about it- your child will pay thousands of dollars to learn about a career. Even if you are fortunate enough to get school paid for by scholarships, you still have to deal with the time cost of 4 years. Those are 4 years that could be spent getting experience.

Prepare with Tools and Grit

In today’s world, with the right tools and grit, you can build a career out of almost anything. And if you start young, you have an advantage.

Take Alec Steele, for example.

How to Prepare Your Student for After High School


He dropped out of high school at 16 (a mother’s nightmare, right?). He started blacksmithing full-time to learn the trade. At the same time, he started documenting his work through Youtube videos. He’s good at it: he now has over 1.1 million subscribers. He also makes money through his blacksmithing courses and his online store.

I don’t know what his mom thought when he left school. I do know, however, that nobody looks at his work and says “Wow. His mom should have made him stick with Algebra!” or “Look what happens when you drop out of school!”

Think Alec Steele is the exception? Soon, he won’t be. Technology is advancing. Information is everywhere- the cost of getting it through college is rising. Many young people are realizing that they can prepare for their future and reach their goals much more efficiently by learning on their own terms.

And remember- many of the top entrepreneurs of the 20th-21st century didn’t have college degrees. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Milton Hershey, Michael Dell, Henry Ford, and Mary Kay Ash are a few.

Think Tools

Don’t push your teenagers toward college. Instead, give them the tools they’ll need for a strong professional foundation. Instead of taking a planned approach to the teen years, take an exploratory approach!

Here are three things you and your teen can do to prepare for life after graduation!

  • Build a personal brand. Create a website where you host all your projects and ideas! This is a way to learn multiple skills at once: some coding, graphic design, branding techniques, and much more. Along with building a personal website comes the bigger task of digging into yourself and finding what drives you. At Praxis, we encourage participants to pick 3 words that describe them at their core. (Yes, these will change some as you grow. That’s ok!)
  • Maximize on writing. This is a skill that every business needs. If you can write well, you’ll give yourself an edge no matter what job you’re trying to get. Write about what you love to do or what your newest idea is. Take some time to play around with different forms of writing. There’s copywriting, haiku, poetry, short stories, business articles, and much more!
  • Complete projects based on interests. Nothing is more invigorating than diving head-first into something you love. Even if you don’t stick to it for long, do it 100% while you’re at it. Have a musical interest? Don’t just learn the piano. Take videos of your practice, write about the tips you have for beginners, or compose your own music. Think coding is cool? Invest in a short course and go build something.

When it comes down to it, life readiness is more important than a life map. Being able to prepare for what’s ahead requires focusing on the opportunities ahead of you, and grow through the process!

How to Perpare Your Kids for After Graduation Lolita Allgyer

Lolita Allgyer is a Marketing Associate at Praxis, an apprenticeship program for the mold-breakers of this world. She is passionate about self-education, and about empowering other young people to carve their own paths in life. Her life philosophy is to live each moment to the fullest. If you can’t find her, she’s most likely outside on some new adventure! She writes on the Praxis blog, Quora, and She hosts her own podcast that dives deep into new ideas about education, called Educationeering. Ask her anything at lolita(at)discoverpraxis(dot)com!


  • Sale! Psychology